FCA Identity Spat With Ex-JPMorgan Manager Goes to Top Court

  • Supreme Court to hear appeal in case over London Whale Report
  • Ruling could set precendent for eight other U.K. bankers

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority won permission to appeal a ruling that it improperly identified a former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive in its report over the London Whale scandal in a case that has wide ramifications for the FCA’s enforcement process.

The FCA will take the case to the Supreme Court in 2016, a spokesman for the country’s highest court said Wednesday in an e-mail. The Court of Appeal ruled in May that the FCA improperly identified Achilles Macris in the settlement document.

The ruling will set a precedent for at least eight other bankers who also say the regulator didn’t give them the chance to respond to reports that contained enough details for the media and the public to work out their identity.

The FCA uses monikers such as "Trader A" to refer to individuals in settlement notices as a way to avoid having to give people the chance to respond and slowing down the enforcement process. If the Macris ruling is upheld by the Supreme Court, the FCA would have to overhaul how it presents its reports.

In Macris’s case, JPMorgan was fined 138 million pounds ($213 million) in 2013 after a trader nicknamed the London Whale incurred $6.2 billion in losses. The FCA referred throughout the notice to ‘CIO London management’, which Macris contended easily identified him because he was responsible for JPMorgan’s chief investment office in Europe and was based in London.

A lawyer for Macris and a spokeswoman for the FCA declined to comment.

The Supreme Court’s decision to take on the case comes as a number of other individuals await the outcome of their first hearings in related fights. Former Barclays Plc trader Chris Ashton had a hearing in the Upper Tribunal, the court responsible for FCA disputes, last week. He claims he was improperly identified in the FCA’s penalty notices against a number of banks for foreign-exchange market manipulation.

Ex-Deutsche Bank AG trader Christian Bittar is also fighting the regulator over claims he was identifiable in the bank’s settlement over the rigging of the London interbank offered rate, or Libor.

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